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Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma meeting US Trade Representative Ron Kirk in Washington, DC on September 22, 2011.

Anand Sharma meets USTR Ron Kirk  Expresses Satisfaction over GSP Progress 

Minister Sharma held a bilateral meeting with the USTR, Ambassador Ron Kirk on 22 September, 2011,. The two Ministers assessed the entire gamut of bilateral trade and commercial linkages, including the forthcoming Ministerial Trade Policy Forum, GSP Extension and bilateral Totalization Agreement. Both Ministers agreed that the TPF has played an important role in promoting trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

On GSP Extension, Minister Sharma expressed his satisfaction at the progress made by the Senate on GSP reauthorization and hoped for its early resolution by the U.S. Congress.

On the Totalization Agreement, Minister Sharma drew attention of the USTR to the regulatory and process related problems being faced by the Indian IT industry in obtaining H1B and L1 visas. He drew attention to the estimates of the Indian industry that the uptake of H1B visa this year has been less than half of annual prescribed limit, and the rejection rates have gone up. He also pointed to the need of the early signing of the India-U.S. Totalization Agreement. He said that India has signed totalization agreements with several European countries, whose social security systems are different from the Indian system, and from the U.S. system. The United States has also has signed bilateral social security agreements with the same European countries. As such, different systems of social security should not be an impediment in signing of the India-U.S. Totalization Agreement.